Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s the postdoc life!

My Post-doc hasn’t gotten this bad yet (though I’m only 6 weeks in!), but I like the lyrics regardless!

E x

The Lab and Field

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll see that I’m fond of the hashtag #postdoclife when discussing certain aspects of my work.  Well, today a colleague asked if it was prompted by the number “It’s the hard-knock life” from the musical “Annie“.

I admit it wasn’t, but the idea (and startling similarities, at least in the stereotype) were amusing.  So I present, for your enjoyment, tongue planted firmly in cheek:

(watch the video if you aren’t familiar with the song)

It’s the postdoc life!

It’s the postdoc life for us!
It’s the postdoc life for us!

‘Steada tenure,
We get term!

Submitted papers,
They get ditched!

It’s the postdoc life!
No position to speak of, so,
It’s the postdoc slog we know!

“Student” status,
‘Steada staff!

Crappy office
‘Steada good!

It’s the postdoc life!

Don’t it feel like the grants are always failin’?
Don’t it…

View original post 186 more words


Pursuing the elusive Post-Doc – how to make the most of it?

So, I’ve successfully completed my first month as a post-doctoral research assistant. What a month it’s been. Still no completion date in sight for my PhD thesis, but that’s for another day.

I’ve submitted ethics amendments, helped apply for a grant (thus potentially securing my job for next year), attended meetings, made suggestions. And I’m struggling for more things to do. “Don’t complain!!” I hear you cry. I would be saying the same thing if this weren’t me. But after months of not having enough hours in the day to do what I need to do this is quite the culture shock. I have work planned for the future, but need data to do it and this hasn’t been entered yet, and thus there is little to do at the moment. Safe to say I don’t like it. I’m being paid to do a job and I feel uneasy not being able to use all my paid working hours to do it.

I’m wary that when this has happened in the past I’ve said “Yes” to a lot of opportunities at once and then found myself swamped once again, so I need to think and choose carefully. I don’t want to take on any regular commitments at the moment as there is still the small issue of not having submitted my thesis, and I don’t know when I will get the inevitable flood of amendments from my supervisor that will require time off to act upon.

I want to get some teaching experience but as I’m in a new University I don’t know who to ask – this requires more investigation. In the mean time I’m thinking of doing something for my personal development that isn’t a regular thing…any suggestions?

It’s not just about the thesis…

Thank you! Some support for my take on a PhD; you need more than just a thesis at the end of your 3/4 years as a PhD student.
Take the time to develop ‘transferrable’ or ‘extra-curricular’ skills that will be useful in a future position.
I personally took on a few ‘society’ management roles, as well as non-PhD related course such as teaching and how to write as a science journalist.
Below is a fab list of other suggestions one could take up as well as thesis writing/paper reading.

The Thesis Whisperer

In a recent lecture at ANU, the esteemed research education expert Dr Margaret Kiley claimed that if we set out to design the Australian PhD from scratch we wouldn’t start from here. The PhD assessment (in most cases, a long form thesis), she argued, does not not necessarily develop the full panoply of skills we expect in a working researcher, inside or outside of academia.

One of the clever students in the audience absorbed the implications of Margaret’s lecture straight away and asked:

If that’s the case, what should I spend my time on? At the moment I spend most of my time reading and writing because that’s what I’m being assessed on. Should I be doing more?

Joyce Seitzinger and I being silly in a photobooth for the Canberra Tourist board. Joyce Seitzinger and I being silly in a photobooth for the Canberra Tourist board.

The student’s question went right to the heart of an issue that has been frustrating me…

View original post 1,190 more words

‘Just ONE Copy of The Daily Mail Could Ruin Your Life’

I never cease to get annoyed when my mother calls me to tell me that ANOTHER of my favourite foods/favourite drinks/bad habits will kill me/give me cancer/cause the ice caps to melt  if I don’t stop doing it immediately. Unfortunately I can’t seem to stop her reading the Daily Mail…though she assures me she only buys it for the crosswords.

So this morning I was glad to some across this little gem, whose author is a fellow hater of all things ridiculous that are printed in the tabloids, everyone should read this:

And thanks to this avid blogger ( the Daily Mail won the  ‘Orwellian Prize for Journalistic Misrepresentation‘ this year. Sadly they are now also the ‘most read online news website in the world’. Its a sad day for science journalism.

From Neuroscience to Knitting

I was browsing pictures of the brain for an upcoming presentation when I stumbled across this little gem!

‘The Museum of Fabric Brain Art’

Knitting, quilts and rugs all inspired by dissections and imaging of the brain! Its nice to see the arts and science coming together so neatly to produce some quite anatomically correct pieces of needle work.

"Mark's Brain" Marjorie Taylor (2002). Collection of the Lewis Center for Neuro Imaging

There is also the ‘Gallery of Wooden Brain Art‘, which has carvings of the brain in Maple wood. These can also be made to order…what a lovely stocking filler that would be!

Maplewood Brain
Buchy's hand carved maple wod brains.